Canada Retains Gold at Sixth International Championships

2003 Gold Medalists
The Canadian Bicycle Polo Team, winners of the Sixth  International Bicycle Polo Championships,
held November 24-29 at Vero Beach Polo and Saddle Club in Vero Beach, Florida:

  Harvey Barton, Asoka Mendes, Peter Furmedge, Geoff Nielsen, Michael Boyd, and Christopher Nielsen (foreground)

Canada won the gold medal at the Sixth International Bicycle Polo Championships, held November 24-29 at the beautiful Vero Beach Polo and Saddle Club in Vero Beach, Florida. Canada, the defending champions, finished with a 5-1 record in the four-team competition in which each team played each of the others twice. The United States team took the silver medals with a 4-2 record, while France A took the bronze at 3-3. France B finished fourth at 0-6, but were tied with the U.S. at half-time of their final game before falling 7-4.

Play began on Monday, September 24 with France A defeating France B 9-1 after taking a 5-0 lead by half-time. Stephane Malandain led all scorers with four goals, while Jean-Michael Languille added three, and Julien Lassere and Didier Derly each contributed one for France A. John Pelourdeau scored France B's only goal. The second game, between Canada and the U.S., was considerably closer, being decided in the last minute on a penalty call. The U.S. took a 2-0 lead in the first chukker on goals by Dennis Mullen and Jon Smalley, but Peter Furmedge scored the only goal in the second to pull Canada within one at the half. Furmedge sandwiched a pair of goals around one by teammate Harvey Barton to give Canada a 4-2 lead in the third chukker, but a late goal by Dennis McQuerry pulled the U.S. back within one. Carl Baker tied the score for the U.S. on a penalty midway through the fourth, but Nielsen answered with a free hit of his own to secure the victory with less than a minute remaining, making the final score 5-4.

Canada took on France B to open Tuesday's competition, and came away with a 9-1 victory. Nielsen and Barton led the way with three goals apiece, with Nielsen adding two and Michael Boyd one. Simeon Pascal tallied the goal for France B. Once again, the second match proved considerably more exciting, with the U.S. edging France A 6-5. Bill Matheson scored the only goal of the first chukker, giving the U.S. the early lead, and things looked good for the home team when Mullen and Smalley each added goals in the second for a 3-0 lead at the half. Stephane Paris got things going for France in the third chukker with his first goal of the tournament, and two more by Derly pulled France even. Mullen and Jean-Pierre Malandain traded goals late in the period, making the score 4-4 going into the final chukker. Stephane Malandain gave France their first lead early in the fourth, but Smalley responded with two for the U.S., giving them the victory.
2003 Silver Medalists
Team USA, Silver Medalists at the Sixth International Bicycle Polo Championships:
Dennis Mullen, Carl Baker, Jon Smalley, Bill Matheson, and John Hupp (absent from ceremony: Dennis McQuerry)

Wednesday's games started with a showdown between last year's gold and silver medalists, Canada and France A. Canada, like the U.S. on Tuesday, controlled the early play, scoring two goals in each of the first two chukkers to take a 4-0 lead at the half. Asoka Mendes and Furmedge each tallied one in the first, with Furmedge and Nielsen adding one apiece in the second. France held Canada scoreless in the third period, but could manage only one goal of their own, by Jean-Pierre Malandain. The fourth chukker saw a comparative avalanche of scoring as each team added four to their total. Mendes got things started for Canada with his second of the day, giving them a 5-1 advantage before Derly and Paris added a pair for France. Nielsen scored the next two for Canada, and Furmedge stretched their lead to 8-3 before Derly added two late goals for France, making the final score 8-5.

In the second game, the U.S. defeated France B 12-4, running up a 10-0 lead at half-time and cruising to victory. Baker and Smalley each scored twice in each of the first two chukkers, while Mullen also added a pair in the second. Mullen added another in the third period, giving the U.S. its biggest lead at 11-0, but Alain Derly answered with two for France B and Pascal added another to make it 11-3 going into the fourth. McQuerry and Thierry Malet traded goals in the final chukker.

Thursday's feature game was the rematch between the U.S. and France A, and the visitors avenged their earlier defeat by a score of 8-7. The U.S. got off to another fast start, taking a 4-1 lead in the fist chukker after Stephane Malandain opened the scoring for France. Baker tallied the next two for the U.S., and a penalty conversion by Matheson and a goal by Mullen put the U.S. up by three. The Malandain brothers each scored once for France in the second, pulling them within 4-3 at the half. Mullen and Smalley sandwiched goals around one by Stephane Malandain in the third, giving the U.S. a 6-4 lead with one chukker to play,  but three consecutive goals by Paris gave France their first lead at 7-6. Matheson tied it up with another penalty conversion for the U.S., and things looked good for them when they were awarded another penalty after the warning horn. Derly intercepted the free hit, however, and passed the ball to Paris, who sent it on to Stephane Malandain; Malandain carried the ball the remaining 75 yards with his three hits, and made the winning goal for France.

Canada defeated France B 6-1 in the second game of the day, with Nielsen scoring two in the first, Barton tallying two in the second, and Furmedge notching two in the third. Malet made France B's only goal in the fourth chukker.
2003 Bronze Medalists
France A, Bronze Medalists at the Sixth International Bicycle Polo Championships:
Jean-Michael Languille, Didier Derly, Stephane Paris, Jean-Pierre Malandain, Stephane Malandain, and Julien Lassere

Friday's play began with France A downing France B 11-1. Lassere scored the first four goals of the game, but Malet scored one for France B to make the score 4-1 after one chukker. Jean-Pierre Malandain and Lassere each added a goal in the second, giving France A 6-1 advantage at the half. Stephane Malandain tallied one in the third and two in the fourth, and goals by Languille and Derly made the final 11-1.

The rematch between Canada and the U.S. was another close game, decided in the final minute on a penalty. Canada took the early lead on goals by Mendes and Barton, and Mullen traded goals with Nielsen to make the score 3-1 after one period. Barton sandwiched a pair of goals around one by Mullen in the second chukker, giving Canada a 5-2 lead at the half. Matheson and Mullen scored the only goals in the third, pulling the U.S. within one, and Matheson tied it up for Canada early in ther fourth. Nielsen regained the lead for Canada, but Smalley drew a penalty in the goal mouth and Matheson converted to level the score once more. Another penalty gave the U.S. the chance it needed, and Baker stroked it through for the game-winner.

The Saturday matches began with the U.S. taking on France B, and Simeon scored the only goal in the first chukker to give France B their first lead of the tournament. Baker sandwiched a pair of goals around another by Simeon in the second period, so the score stood at 2-2 at the half. The U.S. took control in the third chukker, as Mullen scored two while Baker and John Hupp each added one. Simeon scored again for France, but the U.S. led 6-3 with one period to play. Mullen and Simeon traded goals in the final chukker, making the final score 7-4.

The game between Canada and France A would determine the finals standings, with France needing to win by three to create a three-way tie, and by four or more to take first place. Anything less would leave Canada in first, the U.S. in second, and France in third. Canada got off to a fast start on goals by Barton and Furmedge before Stephane Malandain got France on the board. Canada doubled their advantage in the second chukker as Nielsen and Furmedge sandwiched goals around one by Didier Derly, making the score 4-2 at the half. Jean-Pierre Malandain got France within one in the third period, but Nielsen responded with two for Canada to put them up 6-3 going into the fourth. Furmedge and Mendes put Canada up by five, and Stephane Malandain tallied his second of the game to make the final score 8-4. Canada had outscored their opponents 2-1 in each of the four chukkers, wrapping up their second gold medal.
2003 International Colors
Winners of International Colors at the Sixth International Bicycle Polo Championships:
Carl Baker of the U.S.A., Geoff Nielsen and Peter Furmedge of Canada, and Jean-Michael Languille of France

The competition among the top three teams was incredibly close, with the U.S. having all four of its games against Canada and France A decided by a single goal. In the tournament as a whole, the U.S. scored 43 goals while Canada and France A tallied 42 apiece. The three top scorers, Furmedge of Canada, Mullen of the U.S., and Stephane Malandain of France A, each scored 14 goals. International Colors were awarded to Baker of the U.S., Furmedge and Nielsen of Canada, and Languille of France.

Special thanks to George and Sandy Kahle, our hosts at the VBP&SC, and to Kris Bowman, the polo manager. The field was the best ever seen at an International, and we're very grateful that they managed to keep the horses from tearing it up prior to the tournament ;-).


1. Canada (5 wins, 1 loss)

2. United States (4 wins, 2 losses)

3. France A (3 wins, 3 losses)

4. France B (0 wins, 6 losses)


France A     9     France B    1
Canada       5     USA           4
Canada       9     France B     1
USA           6     France A     5
Canada       8     France A     5
USA          12    France B     4
France A    8      USA           7
Canada       6      France B    1
France A    11    France B    1
USA            7     Canada      6
USA             7    France B    4
Canada         8    France A    4


Peter Furmedge, Canada              14
Stephane Malandain, France A     14
Dennis Mullen, USA                     14
Geoff Nielsen, Canada                  13
Carl Baker, USA                          11
Harvey Barton, Canada                10
Jon Smalley, USA                          9
Didier Derly, France A                   8
Julien Lassere, France A                6
Bill Matheson, USA                       6
Pascal Simeon, France B               6
Jean-Pierre Malandain, France A   5
Stephane Paris, France A              5
Jean-Michael Languille, France A  4
Asoka Mendes, Canada                4
Thierry Malet, France B                3
Alain Derly, France B                    2
Dennis McQuerry, USA                2
Michael Boyd, Canada                  1
John Hupp, USA                           1
John Pelourdeau, France B            1

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